By Ronnie Weston| August 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM CDT - Updated July 11 at 9:31 AM
TAYLOR (AGFC) – Contractors for International Paper have begun lowering the water level of Lake Erling in preparation for routine spillway and water control structure inspections. The lake will be lowered three feet to allow inspectors to examine the concrete and mechanical structures that are used to adjust and maintain the lake's water levels.
Some cracks have already been identified between the concrete slabs of the spillway. These leaks will be patched and sealed during the drawdown. Later this fall, once the inspections are complete, the lake will be allowed to fill naturally. Anglers should not expect water levels to be normal before next spring.
While this may disrupt immediate fishing plans, it can be a great chance to identify and map various features of the lake bed such as humps, log piles, underwater shelves and creek channels. It also would be a great time to create some fishing hot spots for next season by placing brush piles or other woody structures in the lake bed. But be careful what kind of structures or features you create. Before moving or placing any dirt or rock in the lake bed, anglers must obtain permission from International Paper and obtain a 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District.
Drawdowns are great for fish production, because they allow air to reach the muck on the bottom which will help it decompose faster and enrich the soil. Exposing the soil to summer time heat also helps to compact the silt layers. Both of these conditions help increase production of nest spawning fish like bass, bream, and crappie. If the lake fills prior to spring fish spawns, fishermen can expect large year classes of these species to show up on anglers' hooks a couple of years down the road.